Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The prune tree has only been in for two years and went from 3 fruits last year to laden boughs this year. Sensibly laden, most of them are clustered around the trunk and forearm of the branch so they are well supported and nothing has broken off under the weight or even bowed down. Important for such a young tree. The wind thinned them a few months ago, not so as you'd notice now. I looked up some local research at the time and from memory, the 16th March was the day to pick them, in Central Otago, for maximum sweetness. Give or take a day.

Sure enough, right on the button a few kilos worth suddenly dropped to the ground announcing that they were ready. This is a freestone plum, 'Italian' so I took a minute to stone them before drying and the result, surprise... prunes. The one surprise is that they are yellow inside, I imagined they would be that deep purple all the way through.

The greengage finally produced a crop worth mentioning which enabled me to scupper a few cherished dreams. For some reason I always thought how nice it would be to have enough to bottle. No no no no no. They turn khaki green and the skins crack and they look horrible and taste sickly sweet because they are so sweet.
They deteriorate the minute they are picked and they don't all ripen together, why should they I suppose. Best way to eat them is off the tree as they ripen, and this over a period of quite a few weeks. I'm on the last of them now. Hanging out the washing is never a fruitless task; it has been especially fruitfull this year.

We finally caught a 'working day' at Hayes Engineering in Oturehua which means the factory is cranked up and we got to see the machinery in action. What I didn't expect to find out the back of the restored homestead was this beautiful vegetable garden with a few flowers, snapdragons and old fashioned things to the right, out of view. The whole thing is rabbit fenced and sits in this sheltered corner. The house is made of mudbrick, 2 layers thick and radiates warmth at night. Those are tomatoes over by the windows. It may look dry, that's how it is here, it was very productive. The lady warmed to my enthusiasm and sent me home with a beautiful cabbage. I had to turn everything else down because we already had it.

Never mind taking photos of the kids, this is looking out at the garden from one of the bedrooms. What a lovely sight. What could be more practical. The whole place, his inventions, the factory, the homestead and the running of it all beautifully illustrate Occams Razor in action. That is, the simplest solution is the correct one. Sounds like a good maxim for life.  Posted by Picasa


  1. Don't you love that blush on those prunes, they look so perfect on the tree. And who knew they were yellow on the inside?! Not me.
    The mudbrick walls look so cozy around that garden, what a great day out.
    Love J

  2. The prunes are gorgeous! Actually I didn't know you had to grow a prune tree to get prunes, I thought any plum would do. That garden is beautiful - and I'd love a view like that from my bedroom window.

  3. Lovely looking produce Miri - those prunes will keep things ticking over - in many ways I suspect. You certainly do manage to produce a huge variety of edibles.